nosh magazine (issue 5) - Page 7

nosh magazine THE POWER OF MINDFUL EATING Fiona Sutherland helps you understand mindful eating. Plus you can WIN a set of Body Positive Inspiration Cards! he concept of ‘mindfulness’ is very ‘now.’ Essentially, mindfulness refers to bringing awareness into the present moment – body sensations, thoughts and emotions – without judgement. I specialise in a branch of mindfulness called ‘mindful eating,’ which essentially invites you to create present moment awareness of your experiences around food and eating, that are free from criticism or judgement. T Mindful eating is definitely not like a diet, plan or program. There is no ‘right’ way of eating, but moreso it provides an opportunity to find the best way of eating to suit you – and all foods are welcome! If mindful eating is connected to weight loss (for example, someone making the claim that mindful eating will lead to weight loss) then, by definition, it’s not actually mindful eating because you’re attaching an outcome to the behaviour, rather than engaging in it from a place of curiosity, compassion and respect. Mindful eating creates opportunities to become more aware of the ways you can have more positive interactions with foods that help you take care of yourself. You can become more attuned with the process of food selection and preparation by gaining insight and respect for your own inner wisdom, your ability to listen to what your body truly needs at any one time. You can use all your senses to engage with the foods you choose, creating more pleasurable experiences, and giving yourself opportunities to stop eating when you’ve had enough rather than finishing it just because it’s there or for other reasons such as habit (e.g., ‘finish everything on your plate or you won’t get dessert’). In this day and age of oversized portions, this can set you up for accidental overeating. You can WIN! See p2 for entry details to win a set of Body Inspiration Cards from Body Positive Australia acknowledge your responses to food (such as likes and dislikes) in a curious, non-judgemental way, and find new ways to nourish your body that match your needs. The part of mindful eating that I love the most is that it can open up a space to enjoy a whole new relationship with food, eating and your body. It provides you with an opportunity to pay close attention to the wisdom of your body rather than the judgmental and critical voice in your head. It helps you find space to calm yourself as you prepare a meal, and again before you begin to eat so you can be fully present, both with your food and with others at the table. As you become more mindful, you might begin to notice habitual thoughts, attitudes and moods that might lead you to turn to food at times when you’re not really hungry. You might notice that you feel like you can never get enough food. With more mindfulness you might begin to explore other issues that might be bothering you, such as how you deal with stress, overwhelming emotions, or your relationship with your body. Through the development of mindful eating skills, you can slow down, bringing yourself into the present moment and calm yourself down enough to notice what might be there that you’re not paying attention to. You are able to savour your food so that you can eat like a food expert, stopping when your body is satisfied. Want to get started? If you’re new to mindful eating, I would suggest delving into a few books. My top picks are Dr Rick Kausman’s If Not Dieting, Then What?, Susan Albers Eating Mindfully, Dr Michelle May’s Eating What You Love, Love What You Eat, or Evelyn Tribole’s Intuitive Eating. From there, I recommend that you keep an eating awareness or hunger/fullness journal of some description (note: this is NOT a food diary or a way of turning mindful eating into a diet). You can track meals (times, location), how hungry you feel before a meal, then how full you feel after a meal. You can download a copy of a page here to get started! Mindful eating is an investment in your health and wellbeing. It’s a wonderful way to eat in a way that meets the needs of your body and mind, and you’ll discover all kinds of things that, if you can stay away from judgement and remain curious, are really interesting! I wish you all the best on your mindful eating journey... enjoy your food! N FIONA SUTHERLAND, APD Learn more at: website | profile Fiona is the co-founder of Body Positive Australia, where she uses her passion for health and wellbeing, to help teach people how to live a full, rich life where they are at peace with food, eating and their body. She also runs therapy groups, yoga courses, yoga and wellness retreats, consultations, workshops, and counselling